Oh, Fuuuuuudge!

Food styling by the extraordinary Meghan Guthrie

In the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to share a recipe taught to me by my grandmother, who is something of a culinary genius (from New Orleans, a place with high standards.) She typically takes a good recipe and simplifies it to its most delicious and basic state. Her peanut butter fudge recipe is incredibly yummy, and thanks to her reductionist cooking philosophy, it’s also a cinch to make: 5 simple ingredients (and 15 minutes) conspire for deliciousness… and to make you fat and happy.

It makes a great DIY holiday gift—perfect for sharing. It is cheap, fast, easy, and impressive. Most people think making fudge, much less peanut butter fudge, is a big hassle, so gifting it seems (deceptively) like a heroic feat. The only problem is that squares of fudge are not the most attractive confections, aside from the glisten imparted by the butter-overload. Therefore I’ve been giving them as gifts in these snazzy homemade boxes. I cut tiny circular apertures to adorn the box, referencing snowflakes and that the famous fudgy euphemism in A Christmas Story.

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Nini’s Peanut Butter Fudge


  • 1.5 sticks of butter (and some change)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (Pure)
  • 1 7oz. Jar of Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 5oz. or 6oz. can of evaporated milk



  • Heavy pot
  • Baking dish (9×13 with square sides)
  • Plastic knife (no sporks)

1) On medium heat, begin melting 1.5 sticks of butter, then add the sugar and the evaporated milk until homogenous. Continue stirring occasionally. It will begin to boil, don’t be alarmed. Grease your pan with the leftover butter.

2) Remove from heat when the concoction has reached the “soft ball” stage. You can test by keeping a cup of water nearby—just drop a small dollop of hot goo into the water. When you feel like you can press it into a soft ball, rather than its just immediately dissipating, it is ready.

3) Pour in the remainder of the ingredients: the fluff, the peanut butter, and the vanilla. Mix until smooth.

4.) Immediately pour the liquid fudge into your greased pan/dish.

5.) Let it sit on the counter and firm up for a few hours and vóila, you have fudge! Once cool, cut it into bite-size squares with a plastic knife (which yields much smoother lines than its more upmarket counterparts.)

6.) Go and make people happy!

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About the boxes

The self-closing boxes consist of cut+scored cardstock with a plastic coating. I produced them with one of my favorite tools, which incidentally doubles as the most finicky/irritating tool in my arsenal—a small CNC cutter called a Craft Robo Pro. It looks and works a lot like an ink jet printer, but instead of printing it cuts roll vinyl or sheet paper with a teeny-tiny x-acto blade.

I designed the box pattern in Illustrator and then exported the vector shapes to the machine using two different pressure settings, one to cut and one to score. The blade skates over the substrate surface, expurgating the design from the parent sheet within about 5 minutes. Another 5 minutes of “weeding” (aka- removing hanging chads with a dull pocket knife) yields a handsome finished box. The Robo is an incredible tool for prototyping, if not the best machine for production, as each sheet must be individually loaded. To its credit the blades do last forever, so if you’re tenacious and patient you can become a one-person fudge box factory.

Special thanks to my buddy, Jeff Rutzky, for demystifying the strange rituals surrounding the Robo for me.

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14 Responses to “Oh, Fuuuuuudge!”
  1. anna says:

    This delightful peanut butter treat is a delicious hit!

    It is flavorful and full, yet light and fluffy – making it a very unique tasting fudge. And of course, the detail in the presentation is perfection…but that goes without saying as this caliber of quality is not uncommon from Kelli :).

  2. Siska says:

    I’d love to make this recipe (it sounds delicious!) but it’s difficult for people not living in the US:
    What is Marshmallow Fluff? I live in Belgium and have never heard of the stuff…can you replace it with marchmallows?
    And how many grams is a “stick” of butter?


    • Kelli says:

      Hi Siska,

      Thanks, I hope you do try it and let me know how it goes :). 1.5 sticks of butter translates to 170.25 grams.

      In regards to the marshmallow fluff, you can probably just use marsallows. But I am pretty sure that they do sell marshmallow “creme” in some parts of Europe (don’t see why they wouldn’t sell it in Belgium.) If not, try melting 119 grams of marshmallows and use that. Should work!

      Cheers and happy holidays,


  3. nycdesigner says:

    Awwwww! Thank yuuuuuuuuu for the props. I wouldn’t haven’t even seen this if it weren’t for Nanci’s first two loves: I am the third…wait, I d

  4. Phyllis says:


    Love the recipe and the presentation is fabulous. My mom also hails from southern Louisiana and she too has a great peanut butter fudge recipe which she got from her mom. It uses corn syrup instead of marshmallow creme, so I thought I’d share it as an alternative. My mom would always make this at Christmas by rolling it out into “logs,” then coating them with chopped nuts before slicing into pieces. So yummy. The recipe is very old, so I have added some notes in parenthesis..

    1 small can of milk (5 oz can of evaporated milk)
    2 cups of sugar
    2 tbsp of Karo (corn syrup)
    an egg-sized ball of peanut butter (2 heaping tbsp) (For chocolate fudge, use 2 tbsp of cocoa instead)

    Mix and stir constantly until forms a firm ball when dropped in water. Add a ball of butter (2 tbsp.) and 1 tsp of vanilla. Stir until mixed, then pour into a buttered pan.
    (If you want to make a log, let sit until cool enough to touch, then roll into 2 logs that are about 2 inches in diameter. Cover a sheet of waxed paper with chopped nuts (any kind of nut will do – peanuts, pecans, walnuts, etc.). Roll each log over nuts until coated. Slice into pieces that are at least 1/2 inch thick.)

  5. Syd Salmon says:

    Thanks for sharing how make those cool boxes on your Craft Robo Pro.
    BTW — your fudge sounds amazing too! It’ll have to wait —New Years resolutions to get back in shape. 🙂


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